Summary Trials under CrPC

Summary trials are quick trials with the simplified procedure of recording the trials. “Justice delayed is justice denied” is the principle maxim for this concept.

Primarily, Trial means a procedure where the Court adjudicates after hearing the case from both sides. It gives a fair opportunity to examine, re-examine and cross-examine the witnesses produced in the court. There are 3 types of trials: Warrant, Summons and Summary trials. The concept of summary trial is embedded under Chapter XXI from section 260 to 265 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

Objective:

The offenses which are small and petty are tried as summary trials whereas complex cases are reserved for warrant and summons trial. The objective of summary trial is the speedy disposal of cases to lessen the burden on the judiciary. It also ensures the right to free and fair trial to its citizen.

Power:

Section 260 confers the power on any Chief Judicial Magistrate, any Metropolitan Magistrate or any Magistrate of the first class empowered by respective High Court to try in a summary way, the offences which are mentioned in the same section.

Procedure for Summary Trials:

The procedure for Summary Trials is laid down under section 262 of the code, which says that procedure specified for the trials of summons case shall be followed for summary trials. However, there is an exception that the sentence for imprisonment of trials under this chapter cannot exceed three months.

The procedure for a summons case is as follows:

The step is to file an FIR or a complaint. Then it is investigated upon by the police and evidence is collected. After the investigation, a charge sheet is filled by the police. It is known as pre-trial stage. Then accused person is taken before the Magistrate who orally reads the particulars of the offences to the accused. In summons and summary trials, a formal charge is not written down. The Magistrate after stating the particulars of the offences committed asks accused whether he pleads guilty or not. If the accused person pleads guilty, the Magistrate makes a record of the statement of the accused and then proceeds for conviction. If the accused does not pleads guilty, the trial begins. The prosecution and the defence are given an equal opportunity to put their case forward. The Magistrate then may decide the acquittal or the conviction of accused. The important part here is that when Magistrate delivers a judgement of conviction of the accused it cannot exceeds three months. Section 265 says that this judgment shall be in writing and the language of record and judgement shall be in the language of the Court.

Similarities and dissimilarities between Summary trials and other types of trials:

The similarities between summary trial and regular trials is that, the evidence is collected, record is maintained, charges are read, accused person is examined, competent Magistrate conducts the proceedings and then judgement/order is delivered.

The dissimilarities are that, the summary trials are less complicated and complex in comparison to other trials such as summons or warrant. The procedure followed in summary trials are shorter and less time consuming while in other trials the procedure is complex and take much longer time. Unlike other trials, in summary trials a brief outline of evidence also works. It is not essential to record the evidence in its entirety. Furthermore, the statements of witness are compiled in a brief and general manner in summary trials.

Since, Judiciary in India is overburdened therefore, to lessen its pendency this type of division is made to maintain balance and for continuous and expeditious process of law.

References:

The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973

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